So far I’m keeping on top of this chart thing. It’s fun to do and makes me pay attention to more of what’s coming out recently, which is a good and bad thing.
20. Deep Rooted – Rock The Hardest (Last Week: N/A, Up)
(From: D.E.E.P. R.O.O.T.E.D.) The second track from Deep Rooted’s D.E.E.P. R.O.O.T.E.D. to appear in our Weekly Top 20 Chart, “Rock The Hardest” will admittedly not be for everyone. I’m a big fan of loud, aggressive hip hop, a flavor the track does encompass, but I’m almost turned off by the singing accompanying it. It’s hard to enjoy some ‘boom-bap, in ya’ face hip hop when some crooning comes on. That said, I am learning to deal with it and enjoy the chopped guitar sound freaked so well on the track. The M.O.P. vocal sample makes the track even harder than a five pound brick. Solid track from a solid album.
19. Whygee – Scott Free (Last Week: N/A, Steady)
(From: The Adventures of Mr. Bitches) Denver MC Whygee blessed us a couple weeks ago with a free project, The Adventures of Mr. Bitches.For those of you still sleeping on Whygee need to wake up and at least check this track out. He happens to be one of the better MCs I’ve heard in a long while, nothing incredibly fancy, just straight up flow and dope lyrics. “Scott Free” features a fairly simplistic beat, which is what Whygee needs in order to let him shine over the track. Beats and lyrics, that’s what it’s all about.
18. Braille & Symbolyc One – Megaphone (Last Week: N/A, Up)
(From: Cloud Nineteen) The newest offering from Braille, Cloud Nineteen, was released this week to rave reviews. The album also features full production from Strange Fruit’s Symbolyc One. I had two things going against each other when it came to the album. First, I’m not the biggest Braille fan usually. I can take him in small doses from time to time, but his albums are not something I usually get excited over. On the other hand, I’m a fan of Symbolyc’s production and the whole one MC, one producer steez that the album was based on. After giving the album a few listens, I’m pleasantly surprised by the effort. Braille is still better in small doses, but as with his last album, The IV Edition, Braille can get the adrenaline pumping. “Megaphone” is that track on Cloud Nineteen, which has Braille bringing the heat with his aggressive mic style and Symbolyc One has the track juiced up. It even features some great scratching from (ex?) X-Ecutioners member, Rob Swift.
17. Joe Budden – Pray For Me (Last Week: N/A, Steady)
You either love Joe Budden or you hate him, but he evokes some strong emotions among the hip hop faithful. Personally, I don’t mind his MC skills, but his choice in beats are usually lacking. I’ll just say my favorite project from him was the Ill Poetic remixed Mood Muzik project. The newest album, whatever it’s called, didn’t do much for me. It did however contain “Pray For Me”, which I thought was interesting. The concept isn’t really anything new, in which the deceased Budden speaks to God himself, going over whether or not he belongs beyond the pearly gates. It is well executed though, as good and evil in Budden’s life is gone over. Dude is talented, no denying that, just get the man some beats.
(From: The New Noize) Coming in at a cross between Fort Minor and The Knux, the St. Louis duo of Script ‘N Screwz comes in at number fifteen. The joint, “Help!”, is almost rock like in it’s sound, which I never had a problem with. It’s kinda hard to describe, but vibe is that live band flavor. Some kind of fucked up autotune voice over the hook, but I actually think it makes the track. The joint is pretty damn catchy, in a way I could almost see this getting some play on the radio stations. You might need an open mind, but if you do, you should probably enjoy the “Help!”
15. C Rayz Walz feat Slug – In Your Soul (Last Week- N/A, Steady)
(From: C Rayz Walz’s Who The F%@k Are You?) I’m not always the biggest C Rayz Walz fan. Every now and then, he’ll dro
p something that will blow my socks off and “In Your Soul” is such a track. The hook is simply the type of stuff that says “Top 40 Hit”, and I’m not talking of the WYDU variety neither. It’s simple, yet extremely catchy. It has the over used chipmunk sample in the song, but it’s more of an added piece than trying to build the song around it, so it makes everything all alright. I like C Rayz as an MC, when he isn’t getting all Def Juxed out (read: weird as shit). It’s when it he just stands up and spits is when he is at his best in my opinion. That’s what he does on “In Your Soul”. Everyone knows that I dig Slug as an MC, but while he does nothing to tarnish his image or rep, it’s not him that makes this song. Don’t get me wrong, he doesn’t hurt it in the least and he drops a great verse, but he’s not the focal point. I can see this song being in the top 5 for quite awhile, so you might as well check it out now.
14. Ameer – Never Be Shits (Last Week – 14, Steady)
Ameer dropped the The New Dream toward the end of 2007 and since then, I’ve been keeping my ear open for some new music and I finally got my wish. “Never Be Shits” is a soundtrack for all the underdogs out there. Over a sparse, but loud, drum pattern and a rolling piano sample, Ameer provides hope for those out there with the cards against them. It’s nice to have meaning in a hip hop song, not nearly enough out there.
13. Blaq Poet – Too Strong (Last Week – N/A, Up)
(From: B-Side to “Ain’t Nuthin’ Changed” 12 inch single) I’m a little late on Primo and Blaq Poet’s latest opus, the single, Ain’t Nuthin’ To Change b/w Don’t Give a Fuck and Too Strong. Apparently, it leaked back in December, but I’ve been off my blog route for quite some time. While the single is dope (check the video), this (entirely too) short track, “Too Strong”, is a prime example of what I love about hip hop. Nothin’ but straight up dope rhymes and a dope beat. I love New York hip hop, but for me, it’s been off it’s game the past few years, but this right here is the way it should be done. Don’t fuck with Poet….now where is the damn LP?
12. Raekwon feat Ghost & Meth – Wu Ooh (Last Week – N/A, Steady)
Back in the chart after a week absence. This is the most Wu sounding track I’ve heard in a minute. After turning my noise up at “Wu Ohh” originally, it was saved by the iPod shuffle. It’s another track using the vocal sample as a major part of the song which gives it that Wu like flavor. It’s great to hear Meth do his thing over the track, as he provides a nice hook. I can’t recall if this was on the upcoming Cuban Linx II or not, but this shows some promise.
11. Nobody Famous feat A. Pinks & Rhymz Well – Mocha Soul (Last Week – N/A, Steady)
I’m a little late to jump on the band wagon, but Nobody Famous has been getting shine on Kev Nottingham’s blog lately. There is still that rumor of Nobody Famous signing to Kev’s rumored label, but then again there was a rumor that I was dating Rosario Dawson, but it’s just a rumor…or is it? Anyway, “Mocha Soul” has a very seductive beat, very soulful as it projects itself in the same category as “Electric Relaxation”, “Ms. Fat Booty” and other classic hip hop joints dedicated to the ode of a female.
While I was familiar with the name, I couldn’t tell you much about Blacastan. I was sent a couple tracks from his promotion company and must say I loved both. This particular track is great as far as originality and it’s concept. “Life of The Tape” is about…well, the life of a tape. You youngins won’t appreciate it as much as us old fogies, but tapes were a big thing to us back then. You had your homemade ones, the ones you bought from the store, everything was on “tapes” back then if you didn’t do vinyl. To top it all off, the beat is dope as fuck as well. A speed up vocal sample (done right) is used as an instrument of sorts as it’s a true inspiring head nodder. This has to get you excited about future material coming from Blacastan. The other song sent with “Life of The Tape” appears in the form of “How Can You Be S
o Sure”. The track tells a haunting tale over an equally haunting beat. Grimy and dirty, yet very addictive. Listen to the message, as it’s very real.
Clap will be the first one to admit that I don’t play favorites. SoulClap, who I consider a good friend and a long time contributor on WYDU, probably even will admit that he’s been pissed at me for not giving him enough shine on this blog. I guess in some ways, it’s kind of the little brother thing going on, I expect more out of him than I do others. That said, Clap hit gold with this track. With a beat that would make DJ Premier proud, the Wyldbunch drops thoughtful rhymes and don’t let a great beat go to waste.
9. Kid Hum Trilogy (Prayer, Church, and Bells) (Last Week – 8, Steady)
Kid Hum – Prayer
Kid – Church
Kid Hum – Bells
(From: The instrumental LP, Fossil Fuel) You simply can’t listen to one of these three tracks without listening to the others. They appear all right in a row on the album, so usually, when I listen to it, those are the first three I go to, then start it from the beginning. All three, “Prayer”, “Church”, and “Bells” have been branded into my subconscious the past two weeks. I wake up in the middle of the night, “Prayer” will be going off in my head. My mom, who was in the room one day while I was blaring “Prayer” said she liked the song, asking me if it was on the radio. Kid Hum really created a masterpiece on the whole album, not just these three tracks, but these three beats get it stuck like a scratched record.
8. Low Budget - Tailor Made (Last Week - 4, Up)
(From: Laser Disc) Who said Australians can’t make hip hop? First there was Cee & Bekah and now there is Low Budget, who is comprised of Genetik on the mic and some dude named Polarity on the tables and comprising the beats. The track has a real disco like flavor to it, which makes it a fun “shake ya ass” type of track, yet still within the confines of hip hop rules. A strong bassline will rattle windows and annoy anyone in the next room. And who knew Darth Vader retired in Australia and is rollin with Low Budget now?
7. Blue Scholars – Coffee & Snow (Last Week -5, Down) *better quality mp3 this week
This was a throw together track that came on a whim? Wow…..wow….Sabzi is one of the illest producers going at it right now. That is witnessed on the critically acclaimed (especially this critic) album Bayani from ’07 and the Common Market album Tobacco Road that dropped last year, both of which Sabzi produced in entirety (or at least 99% of them). The story behind this track was they put it together after a winter storm came through the area (Seattle). The angelic keys are nothing short of amazing and Geologic does his thing lyrically. A truly impressive track that only makes me more hungry for more from the Scholars.
6. Crew54 & The Jake – Back At It (Jake’s Story Time Remix) (Last Week – N/A, Steady)
The former Spotlight feature group out of Texas is back on the scene with a remix project from The Jake. The Crew54 combine their gruff yet smooth voices (think Barry White) with the soulful productions of Jake to give some tracks off of their Aggressive Soul LP some new life, most notably the lead off track, “Back At It”. The Crew are masters at the style and are only getting better every time I hear new music from them. Very soulful, they are truly “Back At It” again.
“Epiphany” is a good word for what happened when I heard this track. I’ll be the first to admit I’m not the biggest Panacea fan, at least not like some of my fellow bloggers. I do however really like The Re-Route project the released earlier this year. Thanks to tracks like “Epiphany”, I’ve given the project some spins this past week. The track, produced by Nu-Mark, combines a smooth mellow beat with some blaring horns over the hooks to give it a very cool golden oldies feeling.
4. Arablak – The Deed (Last Week - 1, Steady)
****NEW LINK WITH FULL LENGTH TRACK****
(From: The Social Light Sounds 2009 Sampler) Our first track to be at number one for back to back weeks. Props goes out to Arab Blak and DJ Manipulator, your plaque (read: construction paper made into a trophy) will be in the mail. What can I say about this track though? I was talking about that authentic hip hop sound a few tracks up, and this track embodies that spirit as well. The spirit of ’94? Quite possibly, yet it still sounds fresh. DJ Manipulator laces a blaring horn sample over boom bap drums. Oh, and there is some nice scratching. All that doesn’t sound like anything unheard of before, which it isn’t, but it just sounds doper than most. Arablak sounds like someone else, who I can’t quite put my finger on yet, but it’s a good thing. He has mic presence, commanding respect and delivering his rhymes with the utmost confidence which just adds to the whole overall auroa of the track. I’ve been jamming track since first getting it a couple weeks ago. I’m definitely going to be checking for Arablak, Manipulator and the whole Social Light Sounds crew in the upcoming year. Props goes out to Manipulator for the full track.
3. Cunninlynguists - Never Come Down (The Brownie Song) (Last Week – 10, Down)
If you have followed this blog long enough, you know that Cunninlynguists are a favorite of mine. Their last two albums have been named in the top three on my year end list. Word on the (blog) streets is they have a double LP dropping in the second quarter. Word is that it might be a two volume compilation set. I’m not sure, I’ve heard both, and haven’t bothered to go to the source yet. This track had a resurgence of sorts for me this week as the beat got stuck in my sub conscious. Kno demonstrates why he is quite possibly my favorite producer going right now as he laces a soulful track as Deacon drops seemingly silly lyrics about pot brownies….or so it seems. As with a lot of Cunninlynguists tracks, I’m sure it goes much deeper than that. Looking forward to see what the dopest crew out of the south is going to bless with this year. The video also dropped this week, it has shades of “Half Baked” going on in it.
2. Pugs Atomz – Roof Top (Last Week - 3, Steady)
After Detroit, Chicago might be my next favorite region/city to be doing it lately. On “Roof Top”, DJ Vadim drops an infectious groove, as Pugs Atomz just rides the beat perfectly. I’m a sucka for those old 40′s sounding blues samples (not saying that’s what it is, but it gives me that feeling) and this track has it. I’m looking forward to Pugs upcoming album by the same name as much as I am anything. The track is staying steady at number three although I thought it had a real good chance at claiming the top spot this week. Still paitently waiting on the album.
1. Focus feat Big Pooh, Sha Stimuli and Kurupt – Homage to Pete Rock (Last Week – N/A, Steady)
So earlier this week, Has-Lo hits me up via AIM and tells me I have to check out the new Focus track. Now, I liked some of the material off of Focus’ project that dropped last year, and the other two homage tracks were cool, but I didn’t see any real reason to make a rush of it. Has ensured me that I wouldn’t regret it. I click the link for the video and was immedi
ately blown away. He did a nice job of emulating the great Pete Rock in his prime, the horns, the break, it’s all there. I was very impressed with the homage. The MC’s all do their thing as well. It’s an interesting line up, but it seems to work. Great track and a nice homage to the Chocolate Boy Wonder.